The home care workforce and systemic inequity

– As the population of Americans over the age of 65 rapidly increases, home care workers have become critical players in the healthcare system, performing the extremely necessary, but undervalued, services that help older adults stay in their homes. As home care workers are disproportionately women of color, their low wages and limited worker protections are an example of the intersections of structural racism and sexism in the workforce (City Lab, 10/11):

The big problem for home-care workers appears to be the same one that has plagued domestic workers since the days of black in-house “help”: that in-home service work has been subject to a gendering and racialization of labor that has largely carved it out of the labor movement, creating barriers to the kind of protections afforded to unions and industries mostly comprised of men. While organizations led by women of color have a strong history of organizing to advance the interests of in-home workers, domestic workers are still exempt from many provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act. Home-care workers—as members of a more regulated industry where strikes and labor shortages directly endanger lives—are afforded more protections than domestic workers, but still lag far behind others in the health field. While home-care workers are much more likely to have health insurance than domestic workers, their wages often still fall well short of living wages. Home-care workers were only just granted full federal overtime and minimum wage protections in October 2015.

– This month the Consumer Health Foundation‘s blog is featuring a series of interviews related to the direct care workforce (which includes home care workers), highlighting how strengthening this workforce can both improve health care and advance economic justice. The first two interviews are with the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute and Home Care Partners. (CHF, 10/4)

Related: Back in 2011-2012, a working group of WRAG members focused on aging convened a year-long series to examine issues related to the direct care workforce. Some of learnings are summed up in What Funders Need to Know: Quality Jobs = Quality Care.

– A bill that would reform the District’s juvenile justice system just passed a first vote in the DC Council. (DCist, 10/11)

Md. attorney general’s office raises constitutionality questions about state’s cash bail system (WaPo, 10/11)

– Here’s an interview with the Public Welfare Foundation about their work to advance worker’s rights, criminal justice reform, and juvenile justice reform. (NCRP, Summer 2016)

HEALTH/YOUTH | Anti-tobacco bills advance in District, would raise age to buy cigarettes to 21 (WaPo, 10/11)

SOCIAL INNOVATION | The U.S. Department of Education has announced its first-ever Pay for Success awards, focused on scaling career and technical education programs and dual language early education programs.

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Ditch Strategic Philanthropy — but Don’t Throw Out Strategy With It (Chronicle, 10/4)

Check out these amazing entries for the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest.

– Rebekah